When it’s time to say goodbye

I’ve never wanted time to stop more than I do now. I’m starting to count my lasts, soaking it all in before my college experience is over.

At 28 years old, I’m a nontraditional student; this isn’t my first time in a university setting. Ten years ago, I entered the University of Florida and four years later, I earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

So, my experience at NSU has been a nontraditional one. I’ve always known that I would graduate in two years, and, at first, I thought that time would be enough. I’m old. I’ve had real jobs and responsibilities and this isn’t my first collegiate experience.

This last semester, however, made me realize that two years is not enough, especially when I have to leave friendships behind.

These are some of the things I would like to pass on to the NSU family.

Be open-minded and take full advantage of everything there is to offer. Take diving lessons, attend a yoga class or go on an alternative spring break. Run for student government, learn self-defense techniques, try radio broadcasting or write for the newspaper. Check out some of the beautiful state parks, attend a concert at one of the local arenas and visit the new Oceanographic Center to hold starfish and sea cucumbers. Some of these activities may become your best college memories.

To me, a great experience wasn’t based on how many days a week I got to go out and party. My great experiences came from feeling like I contributed and learned, along with the great people I met doing something I was interested in and passionate about.

Do not take going to school here for granted. Not only do you have the privilege to attend a great university, but you live in a tourist destination with the beach in your backyard. Your gratitude to the school and your parents can be shown by giving back and working hard. Your success is the best gift you can give yourself and others.

Don’t resist change and growth. Try new things. My experiences here have given me insight and broadened my mind on many issues. I used to think that many students lose themselves in college, and while that may be true for some individuals, many people actually find themselves in college. So give yourself that chance by stepping outside your comfort zone. You may like the new person that comes out.

Surround yourself with good people. You may want to be friends with everyone, but the simple fact is, you can’t. So don’t change yourself or your interests to appease others. Spend your time with people who make you happy and whom you can relate to; better, longer lasting friendships will develop that way.

Also, realize that college is a good place to start forming habits that will follow you for the rest of your life. If you live or interact with people whom you won’t see after graduation, still treat them with respect. Give your all in everything you do because you are shaping your own day-to-day work habits. Listen to your conscience because it is usually right.

And although partying and getting drunk can be fun, it shouldn’t become your gauge of how to have fun. It’s better to be liked for your intelligence and interests than your ability to drink or how fun you’re labeled.

I am going to miss my friends and the incredible individuals who have shaped who I have become. I am going to miss talking to professors who helped inform me of new things. I will miss writing for this newspaper.

But what I am going to miss the most, however, is NSU itself. It’s definitely a one-of-a-kind, and I will forever be in love with this place.  From the beautiful, ever-expanding campus, to the friendly and always helpful employees and faculty, I’ve never been anywhere where there is so much potential just ready to explode.

Yes, NSU isn’t a traditional university, like UF, and yes, the student population is different than most. But it is unique in its own way, and in the years to come, this university will flourish and become a leading institution.

Graduation is around the corner and before I take my cap off to throw it up in the air with my fellow graduates, I’ll be tipping it to you, Nova Southeastern University. Go Sharks.

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